The Fire Still Burned

In a society that has bred us to become reserved and carry our burdens, we often times find it difficult to be honest, even with ourselves. Nobody wants to admit they have a mental disorder or something holding them back from reaching their full potential. The challenges we face and the fears we have are so often overlooked by ourselves and our parents--considered to be regular worries common in our age group rather than destroyers of hope, love, happiness, and more often than not, lives.

We often think, “If other people don’t think it’s a big problem, why should we?” Most of us just stay quiet, bottle up all the stress and pain till we can’t hold anymore and end up hurt beyond repair. Why do we let ourselves fall so deep? When is it that we decide to draw the line and say enough is enough – say I deserve better?

Our suffering is not our own.  There are millions of people that worry about the same things as you. It can be school, family problems, your future, the people you love; the possibilities are endless. Last Thursday’s session revealed a lot about myself...not only the things I struggled with, but also how I could help people around me with their struggling.

The night began with an overwhelming sense of happiness and friendship, most of us not expecting to be as impacted as we were. As we all sat outside and discussed the activity, we let our fears, worries, and insecurities give way to the fire – symbolizing our surrender and commitment to live a better life both for ourselves and for the people around us.  Tears were shed as the rain fell from the clouds, yet the fire still burned, as did the one inside us. Comfort and love was offered and accepted without hesitation.

Under A Tree has given me the opportunity to become more open, honest, and vulnerable than ever before. Our resiliency is something supernatural. Our strength and determination have gotten us through some of the worst things imaginable. Together we can all help carry each other’s weight through offering support and guidance. I’m honored to be in this fellowship. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and face our demons. And perhaps most importantly, thanks for actually equipping us with the resolve and the tools to vanquish them.


Gianna is a senior at Somerset Academy in South Florida and a member of the mighty House of Mazari. She identifies as an assertive, ambitious, intelligent young woman who refuses to conform to mass societal trends. She dreams of a future filled with young people who refuse to surrender independent thought. Gianna is passionate about her family, loyal friendships, dance, photography, and science, seeing beauty in nature, and in intellectual growth. Her heart melts when her dog Lulu has an extended gaze into her eyes- too much oxytocin from maternal instinct or true love, she asks?